Learning how to deal with and talk about mental health has been a rather taboo topic up until very recently. Finally, we are opening a dialogue about mental illness, and allowing people to feel less alone. However, there's still a lot of work to be done.
A Special Ed teacher had the amazing idea of introducing mental health check-ins with her students via a chart. This way, kids are taught how to address and express their feelings regarding mental health from a young age. Genius!
Here's how the chart works: every week students take a sticky note and write their names on the back of it. Then, they place it on the chart, either under "I'm great," "I'm okay," I'm meh," "I'm struggling,"I'm having a tough time and wouldn't mind a check-in," and, "I'm not doing great." Then, the teacher meets with her students individually, based on where they placed their sticky note. This way, they don't have to show their classmates their responses, but they do learn to share and feel safe with someone.